In our February issue of Alaska Sporting Journal, look for a story on charter boat captains working together to in a program known as Every Halibut Counts, which strives to ensure safe and proper releasing of halibut amid tight Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations in terms of slot size.
Also in the news right now: Alaskan and Canadian delegations this month in Vancouver to discuss the Pacific halibut fishery.
From Yahoo Canada:
Fishermen in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska are tossing back millions of kilograms of dead halibut they’ve caught unintentionally while scooping up other stocks.
The longtime practice, known as bycatch, has become the focus of intense scrutiny in Alaska and will be the subject of debate at a meeting at month’s end of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Vancouver.
What’s at fault depends on who is talking. Some blame government regulations that forbid fishermen from keeping bycatch, others say it’s because of fish sorting-and-recording methods, and still others point to Alaska’s failure to follow the lead of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California.
Chris Oliver, executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, one of two U.S. agencies that manages the Alaskan fishery, said the public shouldn’t forget the market, either.
“Yes, it’s a lot of halibut thrown over.” he said. “But again, you know, it supports a two-million-metric-ton groundfish fishery worth billions of dollars to this U.S. economy. In fairness, yes, there’s a lot of wastage of halibut.”